WPD Mobile Command Post at the Reserve at Mayfaire. (Source: WECT)
Wilmington Police blocked several entrances into the Reserves at Mayfaire. (Source: WECT)
Officers with "Negotiator" on the back of their vests were seen earlier in the day at the scene and a Wilmington Police Mobile Command Post was set up in one of the parking lots at the Reserve. (Source: WECT)
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) -
Astandoff situation that had an apartment complex in Mayfaire on lockdown formost of the day Tuesday ended peacefully, according to Captain Barry Key withthe Wilmington Police Department.
The person in question was confirmed to be an officer with the WilmingtonPolice Department, but their identity has not been released.
The male officer was taken into custody and taken to New HanoverRegional Medical Center for evaluation. There were no reports of injuriesduring the stand off.
Officialssaid they received a call around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday to respond to an officerwho had barricaded himself in his apartment threatening to commit suicide,according to Linda Rawley, a spokeswoman from the WPD.
According to 911 calls, the off duty officer reportedly had his "issuedrevolver" with him.
For over 10 hours the Wilmington Police Department had officers atthe Reserve at Mayfaire apartment complex negotiating with the suicidal. Officialscalled it a "critical" standoff situation.
Rawley also said the situation was "too dangerous" forthe department to release any information about who was involved or why theSWAT team was called to help deal with the situation, only that teams wereworking to resolve the matter peacefully.
POLICE CHIEF'S RESPONSE
PoliceChief Ralph Evangelous said the lack of information was necessary to make surethe critical situation ended peacefully.
According to911 calls, the off-duty officer threatening suicide had a police radio with him.The Chief of Police also said the individual was following news reports aboutwhat was happening. "We had to be careful with what we put out there, anythingwe said could have set the individual back and we saw that a couple of times sowe made the call to slow that down," explained Chief Evangelous.
Thechief said because the standoff lasted so long, the WPD was able to bring inmore and more resources, including a psychologist, a federal crisis negotiator andNew Hanover County deputies to help rotate in and out with WPD officers. Chief Evangelous claimed the large responsewas not because the individual was a member of the police force, instead hesaid it is normal operating procedure to bring in all those resources, whenthey have time to get to the scene.
"We respondto every incident involving a suicidal subject or suicide or barricaded subjectwith the same amount of personnel every single time. What we did is not unusualand when we set up a command post and we bring in our trained negotiators thatis our standard operating procedure we use all the time," Chief Evangeloussaid. "We did nothing different than what we do when we have time."
Thechief said he has seen similar situations end very badly, but said luckily thisone ended in peace. He said being able to establish a dialogue and starttalking with the individual greatly helped the situation.
Currently,the off-duty officer who threatened suicide is on medical leave. The Chief ofPolice said he does not know if the officer will be able to return to thepolice force, he said a series of steps would need to take place to determinewhat the possibility of that is.
Residentsin the area were originally not allowed to return home Tuesday afternoonbecause of the nature of the situation. Officers had entrances of the complexlocked down as they tried to assess what was going on.
Laterin the evening residents were allowed to return to their homes, but they werenot updated about what was happening. Diane Sorensen who lives in the complexsaid she was on high alert, but was remaining calm.
"It's not the best situation to have police surrounding yourbuilding," Sorensen said. "Everybody seems so calm and there's somany police; I just figured that they have it all under control."
Officers with "Negotiator" on the back of their vestswere seen earlier in the day at the scene and a Wilmington Police MobileCommand Post was set up in one of the parking lots at the Reserve. Multiple WPDofficers and EMS crews were on standby at the Hilton Garden Inn earlier in theday.
"It's very unusual," Sorensen explained. "Ourbuilding is super quiet. It's very safe. We have a policeman who lives rightacross from us and his car is always parked there so we always think it's greatto have a police car parked near your house. You know, you feel safe. But yeah,we've never had anything like this happen so I have no idea what it's about."